Today is the first day of autumn, fall, or whatever you want to call it. You know what that means, cool weather, big sweaters, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know what fall brings, so let's get to the point.
I love meat and have experimented with different ways to cook, cure, and flavor it for years. I've found that some fit well with different seasons, and here I'll share some of my favorite il porcellino salumi meat products to create a delicious fall harvest charcuterie board.
Rosette de Lyon Salami: This is our French-inspired salami seasoned with Woody Creek Distillery Apple Brandy, pink peppercorns, and warm spices like cinnamon & nutmeg. This one screams for a hot toddy or a nice aged whiskey on a cool fall evening.
Wagyu Beef Bresaola: Bresaola originated in Valtellina, which is in the Alps of northern Italy, and is generally salted and air-dried. It's made from a single muscle with the majority of the fat removed, so it's very lean, but it's very tender after curing.
Our uncured eye of round of Wagyu Beef is seasoned with cloves, cinnamon & juniper berries. We shave our bresaola thin, so it melts in your mouth and allows the flavors to pop! It creates a great balance with the other meats.
Our Wagyu Beef Bresaola is only available at our retail store at this time.
Rillettes: I recommend either a duck or pork rillette. Rillettes are a way to preserve meat by seasoning it and then slowly cooking it while submerged in its own fat, like confit. After cooking, the meat is shredded, packed into containers, and covered with a layer of fat.
Our rillettes are very savory, and we refer to them as pork butter or duck butter:
- We season the meat, and then we cook it low and slow in its own lard.
- We shred the meat and season it with more herbs like thyme, parsley & garlic.
- We press the seasoned meat mixture into little jars, and then we top it off with more lard.
These "potted meats" are rich, full of protein, and are best served at room temperature.
Rillettes are a delightful addition to your charcuterie board on a chilly evening and add a third texture to the other meats listed above.
il porcellino's rillettes are only available at our retail store at this time.
I often like to provide at least one hard and one softer cheese for different textures and to meet people's preferences. With the cooler air of autumn, I look for sharp and strongly flavored cheeses, which I can often find in aged cheeses. In this case, I'll look for a hard, aged cheddar or Gruyère that can provide a nice kick and nutty flavor.
I'll include a blue cheese which is characterized by shades of blue or green spots or veins of mold throughout the cheese. The mold comes from Penicillium, which is entirely edible and is what creates the antibiotic penicillin; fun fact. Anyway, blue cheeses tend to be sharp with a pungent creamy texture that fits well with the cooling temperatures.
Lastly, I'll add the ColoRouge made by MouCo here in Colorado. This washed-rind soft-ripened cheese becomes even creamery as it ages while maintaining a buttery flavor with plenty of funk.
Fruits and Veggies
This is where we can start taking advantage of the fall season. Creating charcuterie boards with seasonal produce provides the feel of the season, but more importantly and obviously, it provides fresh flavors that you can usually get locally.
I'm a big fan of supporting local organic farmers, and I feel that their product's flavors are far richer than the alternative. Of course, depending on where you live, the products in season may be slightly different, but below are some of the fruits and veggies I like to add to my fall harvest charcuterie board.
Fresh apples are a must on my fall charcuterie board. If I get dragged to a day of apple picking, I may use what I get on the farm, or I'll definitely include Honeycrisp apples. The sweet and tart flavor from Honeycrisp apples makes them a great accompaniment to the meat and cheeses.
The western slope of Colorado is known for its peaches, specifically Palisade peaches. There's even an annual Palisade Peach Festival to celebrate these delicious fruits. Sometimes I'll add fresh peaches depending on when I'm making a charcuterie board, or I love to add pickled peaches for their sweet, sour and tangy flavor. I didn't grab fresh peaches, and I didn't have any pickled peaches on hand, but I recommend adding them if you have them.
You can also use fresh figs or pears and if you want to add an extra layer of sweetness, use poached pears. In this case, we added fresh pears that added a beautiful green pop to the board.
I always add pickled vegetables to my charcuterie boards, but I can switch them up depending on the season. I like to use pickled carrots, celery, and butternut squash for my fall harvest charcuterie board. We added pickled beets to our board too.
We do pickle our vegetables at our retail store, and in the fall, I like to use warm spices in the pickling liquid to maximize the flavor of the seasonal vegetables.
Candied walnuts and autumn-inspired jams or preserves are great additions to the fall harvest charcuterie board. The jams or preserves are another great way to add some sweet flavors that accompany the salty meats.
Full-bodied red wines, autumn flavored ales, aged whiskeys, and spiced ciders are a few drinks to pair with your board.
Overall, you want to provide a few options in each category because there is a good chance all your guests won't like the same thing. Or you can do what I do and tell them to deal with it. You can't please everyone!
I'd love to see the charcuterie boards you create this fall, whether you follow my recommendations or not. I've seen many creative ideas over the years and always love trying new pairings on my boards. Take a photo of your fall charcuterie boards and tag @ilporcellinosalumi on Instagram so we can give you some love!